Saturday, February 22, 2014

My birth story

I debated on making a post about my birth story, or rather Easton's birth story.  Then I had someone tell me how it  helped them and I thought maybe, just maybe I could help someone else.  So here goes...

The weekend of October 6, my husband, Daniel, was a groomsman in a wedding over 2 hours away.  At the time I insisted that he go because it didn't seem like our little guy was going to be here any time soon.  As soon as he left I began regretting my decision and started praying that my gut feeling was wrong.  I stayed with my mom that weekend, who just so happens to have been an OB nurse for 30 years or so.  I knew I'd be in good hands.  Not long after Daniel left, I started feeling what I thought was contractions.  I wasn't sure, as I have never had menstrual cramps so I had no idea what to expect.  They were about an hour apart.  The next morning I woke up with them about 45 minutes apart.  I went on about my day for a while until finally I got in Mom's jacuzzi tub to take some of the stress off.  I started to worry that I needed Daniel home, but I held off and just told him to be ready to go when I said go.  The contractions got more intense, but didn't progress time wise and Daniel made it home after the wedding.  The next morning, they seemed to stop.

 After a week of spending a few days going to be monitored in the hospital to make sure the baby was ok due to some things the doctor was concerned about at my checkup, everything turned out fine.  I was having contractions earlier in the week but nothing full force yet.  Every time I would leave, the nurses  would tell me they'd see me for delivery, but I always made it back to my appointments.

Fast forward to Friday... I kept feeling this strong feeling that it was time for the baby to be here.  I wasn't uncomfortable, I was just ready to meet him and knew it was time.  Contractions remained the same but seemed to be a little rougher than the prior weekend.  I still wasn't for sure what I was feeling was contractions, but I knew something was going on.  I decided Friday night to start trying natural induction suggestions based on THIS LIST.  Daniel thought I was crazy when I was galloping around the house and crawling around on all 4's (which was really all 3's due to a fractured wrist) and jumping up and down. Seriously, I went through probably half the list.  Saturday morning seemed to be a normal day for me.  Daniel went fishing and my sister came to help me paint my bathtub.  I decided to practice yoga and snap some portraits of yoga poses to have for a keepsake, so off we went to the park to practice yoga.  That feeling I was having started to happen more often and started to hurt, but not much more than a simple ache.  We decided to stop off at the playground and play and swing because after all swinging was on the list.  As soon as we got back to my house I was feeling uncomfortable.  Just that. Not hurting, but uncomfortable.  Mom, who was an OB nurse for 30 years, remember (my awesome doula!!) was there asking questions about how I was feeling and we decided maybe a walk would help because this was it, the beginning of labor.  (I'd been in labor all day and just wasn't for sure!) We took a walk to try to ease my comfort and I got a back massage when we came back for lunch.  The contractions were getting closer and closer apart.  This was it.  It was time to move forward with the plan and go to Mom's to labor in the jacuzzi tub until it was time to head to the hospital.  We packed up and left and things kept progressing fast.  Very fast.  By the time we got to mom's and she checked me, it was GO TIME!  I had reached the point of being ready for the hospital.  Passed the point of getting an epidural, which was my goal.  I did it.  There was no turning back now.

I was admitted into the hospital and was disappointed when they made me go up in a wheelchair.  I was determined to stay on my feet as long as I could.  I wanted to do it all as Mother Nature intended. We arrived at around 3:30 pm to labor at the hospital and hoped to have our son enter the world soon.  We got settled into the delivery room and started signing all the papers.  I literally looked at the nurse and said, "I'm sorry I feel like I'm getting ready to jump out of an airplane again.  I have no idea what you've been telling me." I was excited, I was happy, I was nervous.  It was all overwhelming.  The nurses all knew about our birth plan, which made everything easier and smoother.  We didn't have to relay to them our desires or wishes.  They already knew what we preferred.  The only thing I had to ask was to turn the TV on to football.  It became a focal point.  I took my pain out on football. Fast forward a few hours... I'm still at the same point.  No progressing.  I'm using my yoga poses, walking the halls, taking long showers, but nothing seems to be helping.  A few more hours go by and I begin throwing up my lunch.  This was a good thing though everyone said.  It didn't seem to help.  At this point I was getting annoyed.  Annoyed at being in the same place I was hours ago because I could still be at home, annoyed at the pain in my back.  Things wouldn't have been so bad if it wasn't for the back labor.  I didn't understand why the little guy wouldn't turn around for me.  The back pain was bringing back too many bad memories of my car accident, my broken back.  I was ready for this part to be behind me, but still I had to move on.  Hours and hours stuck at the same spot and the doctor began to worry.  We discussed the one thing she knew I didn't want.  The dreaded word to me.  Pitocin.  I knew all the side effects for the baby and me.  No, I didn't want it.  Then there was that gut feeling inside of me telling me to trust her.  If she promised only a few drips to see if it helped, I knew she had my best interest at heart, not hers, but mine.  I said yes.  I literally only had a few drips and it worked.  That was the push the baby needed (oh yes, pun intended).  The contractions became more intense.  More of my lunch came up while I was in another yoga position.  The baby's heart rate dropped.  Drastically low.  I didn't need anyone to tell me what was going on.  I didn't need to see my mom stomping her feet worried.  I could hear it.  That fast rhythmic train became slow, very very slow.  Then I hear the screaming for me to move out of my position.  As soon as I did, that train roared back to it's normal high rate of speed.  Finally, he had turned his head to face the correct direction.  He was finally ready.  It was now early Sunday morning.  I knew Daniel was as exhausted as I was.  He was being a great coach.  He and my mom, the perfect team.  I'd been in labor so long, I had learned how to read the monitors beside me and I began to focus on the contractions on the screen.  My nurse being ever so calm and helping Daniel and Mom guide me through each contraction.  I owe her so much from my life.... Then it happened. My body was telling me to push.  It was time.  I knew it was time.  Mother Nature was speaking to me. The pain began to grow with each contraction and I remember needing confirmation that I was doing the right thing.  No meds.  This is the best for my baby, right? Just tell me I made the right decision. 

Now it's time.  It's time to get the mirror and focus on pushing.  Focus on bringing the most amazing thing I'd ever make into the world.  It's time to meet him.  He's ready.  The pushing doesn't take long, perhaps 20 minutes.  Women may hate me, but it didn't hurt.  I mean it hurt, but it's not as bad as a broken back or a fractured sternum.  Just hard to do.  I was high.  I had no drugs in my system and I felt like they'd slipped something into my labor tea I was drinking earlier in the day.  This was the most incredible feeling in the world.  Greater than jumping out of an airplane, and even greater than soaring on a hang glider like a bird. Then there he was.  My beautiful 7 pounds 11 ounces baby boy.  His head full of hair. His beautiful long eyelashes.  True love at first sight. 

What happened next is a bit of a blur, yet etched so well into my memory.  Like a dream.  The doctor telling me I needed to push hard.  Again.  Just like I had done before.  I thought the placenta delivery was easy.  Wasn't it supposed to just slip right out?  My first thought was there was another baby.  Something we missed.  I just kept pushing and pushing and nothing was happening.  More nurses rush in.  I see my mom crying.  I knew something wasn't right.  I looked to my left and Daniel and the baby were bonding in the corner.  The love.  The smiles.  They had no clue.  My mom is leaning over me with tears running down her face.  I asked why she was crying.  Everyone said she wasn't, but she was.  That strong woman that never cries, had tears rolling down her face.  Then I learned there was a problem.  An emergency.  My placenta was stuck.  I was loosing blood, fast.  It was like I was in a dream.  I remember telling the nurse holding my hand to talk to me about anything.  I remember the doctor asking if I finally wanted pain meds and then her explaining there wasn't enough time.  I still didn't understand the extent of what was going on.  Later on I learned my mother was crying because there she was watching her baby bleed to death.  It's called placenta increta and is very rare. I needed emergency surgery.  Without pain meds.  The kind most people are put to sleep to have.  Then I felt it.  Real pain.  I'll never forget the way it felt as I screamed.  Screamed out in pain.  All the screams I'd ever felt in my life came out in one long scream.  It hurt.  Bad. I will forever remember this when I think of the word pain. That feeling I felt.  I was ok though.  The doctor saved my life. I would live after that day.  Days later I would realize Alabama law saved my life.  See I wanted to have my baby at home, but Alabama law prevents it.  If I'd been at home, would my life have been saved?  I think no.  I think I'm forever in debt to my doctor for being there for me on a day she didn't have to be there.  For her saving my life. 

When it was time to move to a room I was so weak, yet so determined to do it alone.  As soon as I got up and sat down, I lost my hearing.  I couldn't hear anything.  No ringing, no voices.  Nothing.  Deafening silence.  I was scared.  Speaking and hearing nothing.  Asking if it was normal, yet I couldn't hear any answers.  The most scared I'd ever been in my life was that exact moment.  It didn't last long, the hearing came back, but I couldn't walk on my own.  I couldn't stand up. This resulted in an extended stay in the hospital.  Longer IVs.  More decisions.  I'd lost so much blood I needed a blood transfusion.  It was my decision.  I was so healthy coming in that fortunately I could decide to take it or I could eat lots of iron rich food, red meat, chicken livers.  Oh the foods I despise most.  I could do this right?  It's the healthiest way right?  Blood transfusions are so risky I was making the right decision.  Right? 

The next few weeks at home were hard.  I was happy.  Insanely happy, yet so tired.  So weak.  So confused.  I'd almost died.  Almost.  I became so focused on this and the fact I was given a chance to continue.  A chance to look at my life in a way I'd been reminded years ago when I had my wreck that broke my back.  I lived a different life after that accident.  I lived for the moment, so what now? What is God trying to tell me? Then I knew. Psalm 116: 7-8 "Be at rest once more, O my soul, for the Lord has been good to you.  For you, O Lord have delivered my soul from death, my eyes from tears, my feet from stumbling." I live my life every day remembering this.  Remembering how my life is a gift from God and I have been shown how precious life is.  More than once.  I'm blessed to be alive.  To live my life for others.  To live for my son.  To live for my husband.  To live for my parents and family.  To give all I can give and live as if there is no tomorrow.  For that's just it.  We are not granted tomorrow.  It may not come again.  Today could be our last.  No matter how low I get in life, it's important to remember the love I have for others and to show them that love, for we may not have tomorrow. 

1 comment:

  1. That's so beautiful, Ashley.YOU are so beautiful. Thank you for sharing all of this. I remember the dark days off your accident and how you came through, and how your family came through for you. You were submerged in such endless pain then and now I can't imagine what you succeed in this childbirth, but your soul has emerged shinier than ever. Hugs and love to you and your beautiful family.